‘Beautiful documentary-making with the present tense narrative of the investigation’

BBC UK Insights Team for BBC

Described by one judge as “a proper ‘change the world’ film”, Sexsomnia highlights the difficult and horrifying trauma victims of rape face in reporting their crime.

Taking three years to make and with multiple obstacles thrown at it, including Covid, staff restructures and budget constraints, the producers remained steadfast in bringing protagonist Jade’s story to public attention.

Waking up half-naked and with little memory of the night before but feeling violated, Jade reports the man she believes raped her to the police. As the case makes it to court, a startling phone call changes everything: sex experts believe Jade had an attack of ‘sexsomnia’ a rare form of sleepwalking that causes people to have sex in their sleep. The defence said the suspect believe she was awake and consenting, resulting in the CPS dropping the case.


The documentary was originally commissioned due to Jade’s case being one of the few rape trials to go to court, but the acquittal of her rapist, the subsequent diagnosis and profuse apology from the CPS wasn’t a structure that producers had expected. At each turn the team were thrown unique curve balls and threats to the doc’s completion.

The doc sparked national discussion with debates on Breakfast to 5ive and Women’s Hour, with Labour MP Jess Phillips petitioning the Attorney General for a review of the system preventing rape victims from coming forward.

“Brave and compelling filmmaking; this low-budget film made an extraordinary impact on the national conversation,” said one judge, while another prasied it for blending “beautiful documentary-making with the present tense narrative of the investigation”.



Chaos in Kabul
Sky for Sky Documentaries 

Laying bare the litany of failures leading up to and during the UK’s exit from Afghanistan, this documentary also spotlights the Afghans who battled through impossible circumstances in a bid to reach the safety they’d been promised by the British government. Ultimately, it leaves a bitter taste of shame as it reveals the shocking stories of Afghans who were failed by the very country they fought alongside and risked their lives for.


BBC Eye Investigations for BBC iPlayer/ World Service and YouTube

Offering a rare and harrowing insight into life in a Ukrainian city under Russian occupation, Occupied was secretly filmed by local journalist Dmytro Bahnenko, who had never made a documentary before. It captured the details of living under an increasingly hostile and authoritarian occupation, with Bahnenko risking his life to film, all while avoiding the attention of the Russians and their collaborators.


Scam Land: Money, Mayhem and Maseratis
Forest and Fifty Fifty for BBC3

Merging shoe-leather journalism with cutting edge digital techniques, this doc follows journalist Mobeen Azhar in an unfolding truth about an Instagram ‘forex trader’ that many people claimed had scammed them out of thousands of pounds. The doc involved many hours of chase, a doorstep and ultimately a sit-down interview with an alleged scammer who had evaded scrutiny for almost three years. 

Sex for Work

Sex for Work: The True Cost of Our Tea
BBC Africa Eye and BBC Panorama/Director’s Cut for BBC Africa Youtube Channel

An ambitious year-long undercover investigation into serious sexual abuse on Kenyan tea plantations which supply household brands, such as PG Tips, Lipton and Starbucks, this doc featured recruitment managers from tea plantations owned by two major multinational offering jobs on the plantation in return for sex. It also featured the harrowing on-screen testimony of 10 women who experienced sexual harassment by their managers. 


Untold: The Secret World of Incels
Zandland for Channel 4

Documentarian Ben Zand plunged into the misogynistic world of incels (involuntary celibate men), a rapidly growing online community that has horrific views of women. Zand explored the common conspiracy theories adhered to by incels, as well as examining the experiences of men in the modern world, loneliness and online communities.